Sunday Jewy Sunday: Bag It and Swag It
I have hardly been the best or most by-the-(five )book(s) member of the Tribe. I don't go to temple. I heart bacon. I have a shiksa-intensive dating history. However, one aspect of Jewish Life that I relish is the ability to turn anything into humor, including simply being Jewish. In that spirit, I set off for the belly of the local Judaica Beast, the Greater Skokie Area, with an actual Nice Jewish Girl as a guide (What would you call a "beard" Jewess, someone who you have with you to make you appear more like one of the Chosen? A Peyos?) for the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival - an afternoon of fun, food, and Lisa Loeb. Lets start with that last part, shall we?
I actually know little about Ms. Loeb. She was in Heeb Magazine recently yapping about some new show where she tries to meet a man. Beyond that I know that she's cute and has worn the same glasses for at least 12 years. This last fact impresses me, as I tend to break such things on about a 9-month cycle. What impresses me more is that she has such star power that she can take the stage at a daylong festival at 1:15 p.m. and still be billed as a headliner. Damn she's a diva! After seeing her live, I learned some new things about her, most of which center on the theme "Lisa Loeb Is Not Very Good."
There was her banter which went something like this: "Great to be here. Wow, I'm playing a Jewish Festival. I was trying to think of what I could do to make my act more Jewish. So, I was back there in the dressing trailer and I was thinking about this. And I decided to turn up the heat because it was cold in the trailer. And then I ordered a tuna wrap, but I sent it back and made them bring me a tuna sandwich." Get it? Jews kvetch. As my improv cohort Tom "Shecky" B once noted, "They're coughing. I can hear them coughing. That's baaaaaad."
Her lyrics also leave a bit to be desired to. Allow me to cut and paste from her song, which was requested apparently, "Window Shopping":
Try me on
Take me home
The tags are on
It's still a loan
Warranty is in the sack
You can always take me back
Go window shopping again
Window shopping again
Scan the shelves for something red
It's brighter than the ones you had to have
They didn't last
They just fade
And you go window shopping again
Oops...there's a hole in the shrink wrap
You didn't notice that
Lucky you, they'll take it back
The warranty is in the sack
Besides there's always something more
Something better...a bigger store
Window shopping again
If "a hole in the shrink wrap" isn't the image to perfectly encapsulate the tribulations of single life, well mister, I don't know what is. We laughed at this song...a lot. It occurs to me that this may also be a rather bizarre metaphor for a malfunction that may lead to unwanted pregnancy. On that note...I move on.
I did not buy this shirt.
It wasn't just about Lisa though. Unfortunately, it wasn't about food either. I was dying for some latkes, but they were not to be had. The food was Kosher, but still typical of a summer fair. Pizza and Dippin' Dots. No bagels either, but there was, of course, Chinese food. Well done.
Not wanting to stand in line for bad food, we wandered, as We are wont to do. We caught two renditions of the Jewish Dance Hit of the Summer, "Who Let the Slaves Out?" Yes, it is, in fact, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" with a special pharoanic twist. The singer even added a bad calypso accent. In between Exodus-inspired hoots I was waiting for him to interject, "And Moses maaaan, he say, 'With blessing of Jah, Let I and I go!'"
At some point I was accosted by a rather creepy young man who acted out his suppressed bondage fantasies by getting me to do tefillin. As Jewish law states that women are too polluted to partake, my friend took the opportunity to stand back, laugh, and take pictures. I don't think my new orthodox pal was amused. Maybe he felt that this act of solemn devotion should not receive the same treatment as if I were posing in the stocks at a ren faire.
We then dutifully avoided anything with a banner, sign, or flier which had the words "Jewish" and "Singles" printed on them.
Finally, came the swag. Tents were set up, as always, advertising services and hawking wares. I got some magnets. My friend scored some sugar-free strawberry preserves for an impending parental visit. But the winner of the Most Amazing Swag Award goes to the folks at Chicago Jewish Funerals who gave out...hacky sacks with the motto "The way it should be" on them! Remember the loved ones who have passed by kicking a footbag with hippies!
We gave up after about an hour and a half. Would my grandparents be proud of how I spent my Sunday? I doubt it. They'd strain themselves to keep their interest in any and all Jewish girls detached and casual. Then they'd probably disparage these so-called "Jews" of the Midwest who couldn't supply their malnourished eldest grandson with so much as a taste of latke or kugel. Then they'd totally make me some. Awesome.